The Diocese of Buea has a new Apostolic Administrator Most. Rev. Msgr. Michael Bibi
With the convocation of the priests, consecrated persons and the entire Christian body of Buea, to gather at the Cathedral on Saturday 28th December at midday, all expectations rose to boiling temperature. The only question on the various lips was not about the reason for the convocation but: “Who will be our new bishop?” Of course, the out-going bishop, Msgr. Immanuel Bushu on this day would have completed 75 years and 40 days of age. Having already tendered in his letter of resignation to the Vatican as required by Canon Law, it was evident that he must have been convoking the people to announce his successor – and this actually happened.
The church in Buea was first of all erected as a Prefecture Apostolic with the name Bueaensis on 12th June 1923. It became a Vicariate Apostolic on 15th March 1939, and was later raised to a diocese on 18th April 1950. The Diocese belongs to the Metropolitan See of Bamenda. It is of Latin Rite and covers an area of 13,410 square kilometers.
On 14th July 1950, part of the territory was lost to the Prefecture Apostolic of Yola in Nigeria that was newly erected. On 13th August 1970, the Diocese of Bamenda was carved out, on 9th February that of Mamfe and then that of Kumba on 15th March 2016, thus giving us the Diocese of Buea as we have it now.
The following Ordinaries have been in charge of the faithful:
- Bishop John William Campling MHM from 6th August 1923 to 13th May 1925. He was then Vicar Apostolic of Upper Nile.
- Bishop Peter Rogan MHM from 26th June 1925 to 18th August 1961 when he retired.
- Bishop Julius Joseph Willem Peeters MHM from 4th June 1962 to 29th January 1973 when he resigned.
- Bishop Pius Suh Awa from 29th January 1973 to 30th November 2006 when he retired.
- Bishop Immanuel Bushu from 30th November till 28th December 2019 when his letter of resignation was accepted in accordance with Canon 401, par. 1.
- Apostolic Administrator (interim pastor) Most. Rev. Msgr.Michael Miabesue Bibi, from 28th December …
The following are the bishops affiliated to the Diocese:
- Bishop Immanuel Bushu, out-going bishop from 30th November 2006 till date.
- Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua, Archbishop of Bamenda and priest in the Diocese from 29th December 1971 to 10th September 1982.
- Bishop George Nkuo, Bishop of Kumbo and priest in the Diocese from 26th April 1981 to 8th July 2006.
- Bishop Andrew Nkea, Bishop of Mamfe and priest in the Diocese from 22nd April 1992 to 10th July 2013.
According to the 2015 statistics, the Diocese of Buea has a population of 1,181,000 persons with a Catholic Population of 431,000 (36.5%) and 91 diocesan priests. There were 15 religious priests giving a total of 106 priests, and an estimate of 4,066 Catholic Christians per priest. It had 37 religious men and 125 religious women, giving a total of 162 consecrated persons. There were 43 parishes at that time. Recently, with the idea of making the clergy get closer to the people, the out-going Bishop has created a number of parishes and handed them to the also increased number of clergy, always trying to endure that the number of clergy per parish be 2.
This is the ecclesiastical reality which our new Administrator is about to embrace. Most . Rev. Msgr.Michael Miabesue Bibi (48 years 41 days old) hails from Bamessing, Ngoketunjia Division. Until his new appointment, he has been the Auxiliary Bishop of Bamenda, right from the day of his nomination as Bishop on 24th January 2017. According to the new appointment he still maintains this function. He is also Titular Bishop of Amudarsa. The Most . Rev. Msgr.Michael Bibi will be administering the Diocese of Buea, with the right to residence until a new bishop is appointed for the diocese. It is worth reiterating again that during his new task, he would still remain the Auxiliary of Bamenda.
Compiled by Fr. Dufe Joseph Ndzelen OFM Cap. – Loreto